Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do SBW chase the wrong types of men?

·         There is this common trend in how some African American women choose and pick their men. From Analyzing black literature you can see black women pursuing men who they know do not meet their standards. In waiting to Exhale we can see this stereotypical strong black woman, and her self crushing love displayed by the character Robin in the popular Terry McMillan novel,  Waiting to Exhale. This is a successful educated woman, who is looking for the ideal man to complete her and bring her joy, which she cannot find, and has an undercover relationship with Russell who already was proven to be a guy with many red flags in the beginning.  “When I first met Russell, he was living with some woman in this super deluxe apartment complex, but he  came home from work one day and she had moved out, and took everything. I was tired of laying low, and sneaking. Tired of him getting up in the middle of the night to go home, and really tired of not being able to call him except when she was out of town….I Went over a few times but I never slept with him in their bed. “ These are some examples of how these women know  for themselves that these men are no good from the beginning and continues to pursue them. Going to great lengths to provide and help, that they handicap themselves emotionally, financially, and psychologically.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Black Male Bashing

I do believe that men get bashed way more then women and the reason for that is because we hold a lot of expectations of ourselves which sometimes hurt us. Most men including myself wants to accomplish things in life to become a strong successful man and it end up hurting majority of us in the long run. Being born a black male you have already labeled yourself as being bashed by the media and I personally think many young black males feed into what the media says. For example, Tiger Woods was one of the richest golfers in the world. After finding out he cheated on his wife the media blew things up way out of proportion to the point where everyone got tired of turning to ESPN. The point i was trying to prove is that no matter what people will talk bad about you (bash) until you prove them wrong and become successful.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Materialism and the Loss of Identity

“If you tonight suddenly should become full-fledged Americans; if your color faded, or the color line here in Chicago was miraculously forgotten; suppose, too, you became at the same time rich and powerful; — what is it that you would want? What would you immediately seek? Would you buy the most powerful of motor cars and outrace Cook County? Would you buy the most elaborate estate on the North Shore? Would you be a Rotarian or a Lion or a What-not of the very last degree? Would you wear the most striking clothes, give the richest dinners, and buy the longest press notices?”- W.E.B  DuBois

Between the 1940s and 1980s, an increasingly populous black middle class began to emerge, its members making advances in a wide spectrum of professions. The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s opened the door even wider for African American advancement. As African Americans strived to achieve the American dream they lost sight of who they were.

Often times individuals fall victim to the drawbacks of financial success. Their happiness suffers at the price of material fulfillment.  This is epitomized in Praisesong for the Widow with Avey and Jay’s relationship as they struggle to escape from the poverty on Halsey Street, his and Avey’s romantic relationship dissolves and their emotional detachment increases. Jay, in particular, becomes alienated from his roots in Harlem and his sense of himself as an African American. Ultimately even Avey can no longer recognize the man she loves in the remade Jerome Johnson who "viewed the world and his fellow man according to a harsh and joyless ethic" (Praisesong for the Widow, p. 131).
Avey also gets caught up in materialism as well. Normally when people move up socially or have things that they did not always have they like to flaunt it so that everybody knows. We read in Praisesong for the Widow that Avey is aboard a ship where the weather is extremely hot and she is wearing a cardigan and gloves. Marshall also puts emphasis on the fact that she is wearing a very uncomfortable girdle. We concluded that she uses these material things for self-fulfillment even though it never really works because she is still not at ease.

What we want to know:
Is materialism still a problem in modern day African-American relationships? If so, how does it affect the African-American community?
As college students do you feel like you need certain material things to feel like you belong?  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Truth Hurts

     Many times in life people find themselves in situations where hiding the truth can make life a lot easier.  We see this happen all the time in relationships whether its a couple hiding things from each other or together hiding something from the world, or like we saw in "Beloved" when Sethe could not bring herself to tell Paul D that she killed her children.  Many times telling the truth means standing up and often times changing one's behavior.
     One of the main things that ends relationships is obviously infidelity.  However, most times it is one member of the relationship finding out about the other's cheating.  In "Beloved" Paul D cheats on Sethe with Beloved (the ghost, who is also Sethe's daughter).  This is another part of the story where the difficulty of telling the truth becomes apparent.  Why do you think many times the person who is cheating stays with or tries to hide their actions from the other person?  Why would Paul D hide this from Sethe and why does he leave? Is this considered lying through omission? What role does lying through omission play in cheating?
      Similarly to cheating there is much incentive to hide the truth with physical abuse.  Whether it is a child being abused by an adult or abuse happening in a relationship.  Sometimes a child may not realize they are not doing anything to deserve the abuse, but in the case of a relationship both parties are aware but often still hide it together from the outside world.  Is lying through omission on this topic condoning the abuse?  Why would one want to hide abuse within a relationship?
     In the book we also saw the situation where Sethe never told Paul D about killing her baby in the woodshed when Schoolteacher arrived in town.  Because of this, Paul D could never know he had sex with the human form of the haunting ghost.  Do situations involving life and death require more respect for the truth and whether or not to hide it? 

Hallie Bowns, Adrianne Carter, Kurtis Nelson


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Objectification of Women

Objectification of Women
Objectify- to treat as an object or cause to have objective reality. In communities it is evident that men have a natural lust for women, and vice versa. Yet, the objectification that now takes place has gone beyond that of a natural state. It seems that society has come to only see women as objects to obtain satisfaction from, a means to an end.

            This can be seen in Beloved as the Sweet Home men drooled over Sethe when she came to their place of residence. On page 13 (11 in some), it states “ And so they were: Paul D Garner….All  in their twenties, minus women, fucking cows, dreaming of rape, thrashing on pallets, rubbing their thighs and waiting for the new girl…. And the Sweet Home men abused cows while they waited with her.” This quotation shows how the men of Sweet Home felt about Sethe. To them she was just an object to lust after, never speaking of wanting an emotional connection with her.
            The issue with this objectification is men’s lack of satisfaction with only the imagination. After a while, the fantasies become so elaborate that they defy the possibilities of reality. Thus when the women are obtained and men are given the chance to have what they want, it does not live up to their fantasies. Paul D expresses this lack of dissatisfaction in Beloved. On page 21 (25 in some), Paul begins describing what he sees. “Paul D saw the float of her breasts and disliked it, the spread-away, flat round of them that he could definitely live without, never mind that downstairs he had held them as though they were the most expensive part of himself. And the wrought-iron maze he had explored in the kitchen like a gold miner pawning through pay dirt was in fact a revolting clump of scars.” This is a prime example of male fantasies becoming so fairytale that they defy reality.
            This carries over into our society and can be seen in relationships within our community, particularly the Black community. For instance, the miscommunication between men and women; in today’s society women are seen as wanting more of an emotional connection with their male counterpart and males are seen as wanting more of a physical/ sexual connection with their female counterpart. This miscommunication usually leads to the destruction of the relationship. What is seen in the relationship is that women put their “all” into it. For instance, they will go out of their way to show their significant other that they care for them. This takes time and effort. From the male side, what is seen is that since men want more of a physical connection, time and effort is lacking from their end. (Of course this cannot be said for all relationships, just this example). Even when in a relationship men are still lusting after many other women. This fantasizing of other women can lead to the act of infidelity.

From reading this, what are your thoughts about the portrayal of men getting the physically aspect of what they want  from a women but then becoming “bored” or dissatisfied  with them? Then leaving them to go on to the next one? Vice versa for women as well. Do you think objectification of women lead to infidelity in relationship? Do you think women allow themselves to be objectified? Do you think they enjoy this objectification?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reparations for African Americans?

One of the most controversial issues America has ever faced, dating back to the establishment of our society, would have to be the topic of racism. Not only was the fight for freedom a huge ordeal, but the aftermath was a touchy subject for most present day Americans. The idea of granting reparations for African Americans worries and disappoints us a little bit. Reparations for African Americans would be a very risky decision; giving them hush money to appease the situation does not make anything better at all. In fact, all it does is shows how weak and dependent African Americans really are, and that shows no change at all. Looking pass the financial crisis reparations for African Americans would bring upon the economy, think about how confusing it will be for someone to point out everyone who is legally entitled to the reparations. 
Honestly, if it was announced that reparations were about to be awarded to those who were affected by racial segregation of the past, every African American in the United States of America would be standing in line swearing up and down that they were victims and deserve reparations. 

When it all boils down, reparations for African Americans seem like a pretty good deal at the surface. Often times, it is what is under the surface that really matters. If we were to stand by and let reparations be given out in hopes to fix the damage that was caused decades ago with slavery, then what are we really saying for ourselves? That once again white people can own us by buying our forgiveness. Reparations for African Americans are unnecessary; there is no need to produce even more money that is just going to put us in even more debt. And for what reason? To give African Americans a leg up in the economy realm, to make up for lost time and wages, or just to appear as if you really care about their feelings? Either way we would decline the reparations. As much as the money would help all of us, we feel like we are better than that. And African Americans are better than that.

Ask yourself this:

Do you think African Americans are better than that?
Would you, honestly now, be in a favor of Reparations? Why or why not?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Issue of Rape

Abigail Remillard
Laura Turner

“Family violence and abuse are among the most prevalent forms of interpersonal violence against women and young children- both boy s and girls.”(rape statistics). The sexual abuse of a child should never be “just a family matter,” but many children are afraid to report an incident to the police because the abusers are too often a family friend or relative. Rape is defined as the crime of forcing another person to submit to sex acts. Rape can be of anyone and committed anywhere. As the popular billboard says “sex without consent is Rape.” Although this statement can seem simple, it is a largely overlooked fact that the majority of reported rape incidents take place in domestic settings, such as with family members or “friends.”
 This concept can be seen in the movie “Precious,” where the main character is emotionally and physically abused by her own family. The obstacles Precious must overcome are controversial in that they expose the often hidden and underlying abuse seen in the area of society with a lower income and located in less auspicious areas. She is raped by her father which consequently causes the abuse of her mother from jealousy issues. She contracts AIDS and two special needs children from this horrible situation that she was subjected to. 

According to the website on rape victims in the United States,, 73% of the rape victims know their assailants. 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in their life time and this goes for 1 in 33 men as well, proving that this is an issue that traverses gender as well as race. However, the fact must be considered that not all rape incidents are reported. The stereotypical “Strong Black Woman” may choose to keep this suffering to herself, as part of her selflessness.
The issue of rape is discussed in the current class reading “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.” On pages 17-21 of this choreopoem, the author Ntozake Shange has her “colored girls” all contribute to a poetical conversation, creating a discordant harmony of their ideas on how rape can be from a friend just as easily, if not more so, than from a stranger. The fact that all of the “colored” girls are in accordance on this topic speaks of an underlying trauma, that perhaps they speak from experience. “Colored Girls” covers various aspects of abuse aside from just rape. Victims can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually abused. In order for victims to come to terms with themselves and their past abusive treatment, they must embrace who they are and where they’ve been in order to embark on their journey for wellness and wholeness.